Savory Easter pie
- Difficulty: Average
- Prep time: 45 min
- Cook time: 60 min
- Serving: 8 people
- Cost: Average
- Note + the dough resting time (about 1 h)
It is prepared at Easter to celebrate spring and the reawakening of nature and is great served as an outdoor snack. You will have already heard of savory Easter pie, made of delicious pastry layers and a delicious filling, a typical specialty of Ligurian culinary tradition, an unmissable Easter menu. It is usually filled with spinach or herbs, ricotta cheese and eggs of course, which you will discover as soon as you cut the first slice. All this is enveloped in thin pastry sheets, making it the perfect savory pie for enjoying on Easter bank holiday, along with the less well-known Ligurian chard cake. Its origins date back to ancient times: in 1400 it was already known as a dish linked to the symbolism of Easter, not only because it contains eggs, but due it its characteristic thin shell, which legend has it, was made up of no less than 33 pastry sheets, one for each year of the life of Jesus. For it to be within everyone's reach, here we offer an equally delicious version, made with just 4 pastry layers. Layer after layer, savory Easter pie will win you over with its timeless rustic flavors: are you ready to share it with friends and family?
- Ingredients for the filling
- Spinach 2 lbs ( kg) - already cleaned
- Cow's milk ricotta cheese 3 cups (500 g)
- Eggs 12 - medium
- Parmigiano Reggiano DOP cheese 6 oz (190 g) - for grating
- Marjoram 3 sprigs
- Nutmeg to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Fine salt to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp (25 g)
How to prepare Savory Easter pie
To prepare savory Easter pie, start by making the dough for the pastry sheets. You'll need 4: two to line the base of the cake mold and two to cover the rich filling. Dissolve the salt in the water 1, place the flour in a large bowl and add the water 2, followed by the oil 3.
Now knead into a dough inside the bowl 4; you can use a spatula if needed. Place the dough on a pastry board lightly sprinkled with flour and continue kneading by hand for a few more minutes 5, until it becomes smooth and elastic 6,
then split it into 4 pieces: 2 bigger ones, each around 10.6 oz in weight, and 2 smaller ones, around 6.35 oz each 7, then cover them with a lightly dampened cloth and leave to rest in a fresh place for around an hour 8. In the meantime start making the filling for the Easter cake. Lightly sweat the chard or spinach (we used spinach) in a pan, together with the oil and finely chopped onion 9;
add salt and pepper and leave to flavor for a few minutes 10, then remove from the heat. Leave to cool slightly, drain in a colander, finely chop the vegetables on a cutting board 11 and place them in a bowl. Add 2 eggs, 1.8 oz of grated cheese 12,
the finely chopped fresh marjoram leaves 13, salt and pepper, then stir thoroughly. Place the ricotta cheese in another bowl and soften with a spoon or whisk, add 3 eggs 14, stir to incorporate them 15
and add 3.1 oz of grated cheese 16, a dash of nutmeg and a pinch of salt 17. Stir thoroughly with a whisk, until creamy and free from lumps 18.
Now make the pastry for the Easter cake. Take one of the 10.6 oz pieces of dough and roll it out into a very thin sheet, using a rolling pin 19, spread it by hand and place it on the bottom of a 12 inch diameter cake mold, onto which you previously brushed the oil 20. Now spread it once more by hand 21
and make sure it adheres perfectly to the edges of the cake mold 22; don't worry if the pastry goes over the edges of the mold, this is actually a characterizing feature of Easter cake. Brush the oil onto the pastry, take the second 10.6 oz piece of dough, roll it out using a rolling pin, place it over the first pastry sheet 23 and make sure both adhere together.?Now add the vegetables and smooth with the back of a spoon 24,
then pour the ricotta cream over it and smooth the surface once more 25. Press down with the back of a spoon to create seven dips, one in the middle and six around it 26. Place the yolks of the 7 remaining eggs into each of these dips, be sure not to break them 27.
Delicately beat the 7 left over egg whites with a pinch of salt and pour them over the ricotta surface 28. Sprinkle the savory Easter pie with the remaining parmigiano reggiano cheese 29 and then roll out one of the 6.35 oz pieces of dough and cover the filling with the third pastry sheet 30, which will be even smaller compared to the two previous ones; yet again, make sure it adheres thoroughly to the tray.
Brush this layer of pastry with the oil too, then roll out the last piece of dough and cover the entire pie 31, making sure the pastry adheres thoroughly, as before. Now trim the excess pastry from around the edge with a knife 32 and fold it inwards to create a rope that will seal the pastry pieces 33.
Brush the oil onto the surface of the Easter pie 34 and last of all, thoroughly flatten the edges with the prongs of a fork 35, which also creates a nice decorative pattern. Now all you have to do is bake the pie in a preheated oven on the lowest rack at 356°F (180°C) for 55 minutes (or in a convection oven at 320°F (160°C) for 45 minutes). Once baked, remove the savory Easter pie from the oven and leave it to cool before removing it from the baking tray 36. Cut to obtain slices in which the layer of spinach and ricotta cream and the hard boiled egg yolks will be clearly visible. Your Easter pie is ready for your Easter Monday picnic!
You can store savory Easter pie nicely covered in the refrigerator for 3 days. Once baked and fully cooled, Easter Cake can also be frozen; you may find it handy to cut it into slices so that you can remove just the right amount of portions you need each time. Defrost in the refrigerator before heating in the oven or microwave.
As if often the case with typical dishes of very ancient origin, the ingredients of Easter pie, eggs and cheese, were special foods, enjoyed on special occasions only.
Even artichokes, prohibitively priced at Easter time, were replaces with cheaper herbs or chard, hence the tradition of preparing Easter pie with these greens, or spinach, instead. According to tradition, 33 puff pastry layers are used to celebrate each year in the life of Christ; the eggs, symbolize the rebirth of life, the return of spring and the defeat of death.
Instead of ricotta cheese, in Liguria genoese prescinseua is used, which is similar to curd, but much more difficult to source beyond this region.
To spinach or not to spinach, that is the question. If you're not a fan, you could always replace with chard or herbs, just remember to blanch in a pan. Really get into the Easter spirit by going to town with decorations! Here are a couple of ideas: arrange dove, chick or egg shapes on the cake, made with the left over pastry, or paint the shell of a whole egg with edible egg dye and place it on top of the cake in the middle: a pleasure for the eye and the palate!